Title: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Author: Christopher Marlowe
Imprint: London: J. M. Dent and Company (Aldine House), 1909
Edition: Seventh (first in 1897)
Series: The Temple Dramatists
Editor: Israel Gollancz, M.A.
Physical Features: 10.5cm x 13cm. Bound in green leather; spine faded with gilded ornaments and text (“Marlowe’s Faustus”); cover gilded impression of ornament (open book with “DENT” in middle). Top edge of paper gilded. Pink marker ribbon. 67 leaves.
Contents: blank fly-leaf; series half-title with illustration note on verso; blank with copper-engraving of “Faustus after Rembrandt” on verso; tissue; title page with ornamental border with red and J. A. Symonds quotation on verso; preface (v-[xiv]) (“Early Editions”, “The Present Text”, “Source of the Plot”, “Date of Composition”, “Early Stage History”, “Brief Bibliography”); play half-title with dramatists personae on verso; play text (-94); glossary (97-103); notes (104-). Fonts alternates between roman (for text in both 1604 and 1616 editions) and italic (text only in 1616 edition); also, Old English black-type used for Mephistopheles's charm on Faustus in scene viii (see photo). The stage direction for the masque of the spirit of Emperor Alexander, in scene xii, is set as an inverted triangle (see photo).
Marginalia & Markings: Thin pencil used throughout to mark speeches and passages with a vertical line in the margin or to underline individual lines. The word “bond” is pencilled next to the speech in which Faustus seals his bargain with the devil.
Estimated Assessed Value: $30 - $40
Other: Begun in 1887, the Temple Dramatists series (first published by Macmillan) aimed to produce scholarly editions of Shakespeare’s contemporaries in a format small enough to fit in the pocket and be carried anywhere. The July 1897 Publisher’s Weekly described the series as “a reprinting of old Elizabethan dramas and others representative of the earliest periods of dramatic literature in a charming dress. Such dramas as Webster’s ‘Duchess of Malfi,’ Marlowe’s ‘Edward II.,’ and Heywood’s ‘Woman Killed with Kindness,’ and other just as rare are offered to the student of out-of-the-way literature.” According to the December 1898 issue of Publisher’s Weekly, “The Temple edition of ‘Shakespeare’ and the Temple Dramatists are ideal Christmas gifts, either separately or collectively.” The series was part of many “Temple” offerings from Dent, which continued to print them into the 1930s. Gollancz was for much of its life the “general editor” and once he left the series after 1906 its quality quickly plummeted, according to Brander Matthews of Columbia University.